Fire Earth

Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Archive for January, 2010

The Alps buried under 6 feet of snow

Posted by feww on January 31, 2010

Vercorin, Switzerland Sees 6ft of Snow in just 3 Days

NC Gov Declares State of Emergency after Snow Storm

Large snow storms have been reported across Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and France in the past three days.

Switzerland saw the most snow, On the Snow reported. In Vercorin, Switzerland,  snow topped 180cm. Elsewhere in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and France between 105 and 120cm (48 inches) of snow  covered much of the region.

“Another 42-70cm of further snow is forecast within the next five days in Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and France: 70cm in Gstaad, Switzerland; 48cm in am Belchen and Todtnauberg, Germany; 47cm in Courmayeur, Italy; and 42-44cm in La Mongie, Piau Engaly, and Saint Lary Soulan, France.” The report said.

In Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia,  the region where the cities of Cologne and Dusseldorf are located, more than 300 accidents were reported in a 12-hour period between Friday night and Saturday morning.

The chaos on the North Rhine-Westphalia roads killed at least one motorist and injured  40  others, while Bavaria’s frozen roads claimed another two lives, and a road accident in Thuringia killed 2 more people.

Flights at some of the airports in both regions were canceled or delayed, as police advised motorists to stay at home.

US Weather

Near Real-Time U.S. Composite Satellite Image.  Credit SSEC. Click image to enlarge.

Meanwhile, North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue declared a state of emergency as more than a foot of snow blankets mountain areas. About 20 emergency shelters opened across the state, Perdue said.

“The storm left roads icy and snow packed across the South, and thousands were without power as ice accumulated. Although police said they had to clear hundreds of wrecks, there were no deaths or serious injuries reported.” WMBF reported.

Some 11 inches of snow covered Asheville, North Carolina, on Friday. The storm that brought the winter weather to the Southeast is now heading toward the Eastern Seaboard.

The lowest temperature in the Lower 48 states ranged from a low of -25ºF degrees at Upson, Wisconsin, to a high of 83ºF degrees at Vero Beach, Florida.

IR Satellite Image. Click image to update.

Weather. Click image to enlarge and update.

Temperature. Click image to enlarge and update.

Predominant Weather.
Click image to enlarge and update.

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Posted in Gstaad, Hannibal's army, North Carolina, North Rhine-Westphalia, state of emergency, Thuringia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Bolivia declares a national emergency

Posted by feww on January 30, 2010

Bolivia’s Evo Morales declares a national emergency

The Bolivian President, Evo Morales, declared a national emergency Friday amid weeks of heavy rains and flooding that have killed at least 10 people and affected some 24,000 families nationwide.

Political map of Bolivia. Click image to enlarge.

“We are declaring a national emergency across Bolivia in response to the effects of flooding, hailstorms, landslides and rivers breaking their banks,” according to a decree issued by the President and his cabinet.

The worst hit regions include Santa Cruz region, Cochabamba, Chuquisaca and Beni, news agencies reported.

The heavy rains have swept away livestock and submerged thousands of hectares of cropland and grassland in flood water.

A large landslide obliterated at least 72 homes on the outskirts of the capital La Paz on Thursday.

The government is concerned however that the Beni region could top the list of their disaster-stricken regions because Bolivia’s major rivers converge there.

Photo: Rio Beni (2008). Credit: Pattrön.  For licensing details  click here. Beni (capital: Trinidad), a northeastern department of Bolivia, is located in the lowlands region of the Bolivia and is the second largest department in the country (after Santa Cruz), covering about 213,600 square kilometers.

“Beni’s capital Trinidad, home to some 120,000 people, was on aler2t Friday as the water level rose within inches of breaching nearby dams.” AFP reported.

Heavy rains are expected to continue, Bolivia’s National Meteorology and Hydrology Service reported.

Although Bolivia’s rainy season falls  in January and February, the weather forecasters  believe both the climate change and El Niño have intensified the severity of the rain events.

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Posted in Beni region, Chuquisaca, El Niño, flood in Bolivia, flooding, La Paz | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

NASA ‘return’ to the moon nixed

Posted by feww on January 30, 2010

As Fire-Earth always maintained, ‘return’ to the moon was a dumb idea!

US astronauts will not be ‘returning’ to the moon: White House adviser

White House has confirmed that US astronauts will not be “returning” to the moon, but NASA will instead focus on developing commercial space transport.

Buzz Lightyear imitating his namesake US Astronaut  Buzz Aldrin in an Apollo  spacesuit.  Neither of the two Buzzes have ever revealed why it was so easy to go to the moon the first time, yet so difficult to return. Image credit: NASA. [Image edited by FEWW for added humor.]

“President Barack Obama will ask Congress to extend International Space Station operations through at least 2020 but abandon NASA’s current plans to return U.S. astronauts to the moon, administration and NASA officials said Wednesday.” Florida Today reported earlier.

NASA will instead be instructed to develop U.S. commercial space taxi services to transport American astronauts to and from the space station (ISS).

“‘Budgets are very tight,’ said former astronaut Sally Ride, who served on a presidential panel that determined NASA’s current Project Constellation—the post-shuttle program—is on ‘an unsustainable trajectory.,”

“For NASA to be getting new money over the projections is to me an indication of how seriously this administration takes NASA and our goal of future innovations for this country.”

White House is planning to create 1,700 jobs in Florida and another 5,000 jobs nationwide,  to compensate  for an estimated loss of 7,000 jobs at Kennedy Space Center when the shuttle program expires in 2011.

The shuttle is expected to make five additional flights, including the next mission by the Endeavour scheduled for a February 7.

NASA since 2004 has invested $9 billion in developing the Constellation program’s Ares I and Ares V rockets and the Apollo-style Orion crew capsule for missions to the moon, Mars and, in the event no commercial means becomes available, the International Space Station.” The report said.

The plan was to ‘return’  NASA astronauts to the moon before 2020; however, the presidential panel which reviewed NASA’s plans decided  that it was unlikely for anyone to ‘return’ to the moon before 2028. [Ouch!]

Meanwhile US astronauts are expected to taxi to the ISS  aboard the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

“We really do believe it is time for American companies to come into this program in a way that they have on the cargo side for decades now,” a senior NASA official was quoted as saying on condition of anonymity.

The totally mindless Constellation program was launched by the totally mindless George W. Bush in 2004.

President Obama, meanwhile, release a statement on NASA’s Day of Remembrance:

For more than a half-century, NASA has explored our final frontier and transformed humankind’s understanding of our planet and its place in the universe. These extraordinary achievements have required great sacrifice.

On this Day of Remembrance, we pause to reflect on the Apollo 1, Challenger and Columbia crews, as well as others who lost their lives supporting NASA’s mission of exploration and study of the earth, the planets and the stars. All of humanity has benefited from their courage and devotion.

We mourn their loss while celebrating their spirit of discovery. May their sacrifice be an inspiration as we continue our nation’s work to explore our universe.

The worst thing that could have happened to NASA is actually happening. Unintelligent programming, and misuse of taxpayer money gave the administration the excuse theyre looking for to throw them at the big, bad commercial wolves!

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Posted in BUZZ aldrin, Endeavour, International Space Station, Kennedy Space Center, Space Exploration | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

2010 Year of Super Volcanoes?

Posted by feww on January 30, 2010

Global Volcanism is on the rise!

2010 May Prove to Be Year One of Super Volcanic Activities

Fire-Earth Moderators believe the increase in global volcanism could  include renewed activities at some of the planet’s super volcanoes.

VolcanoWatch Weekly [28 January 2010]

VoW: Volcano Ash Threatens Ecuador’s Ambato City

19 – 26 January 2010 – SI /USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report

New activity/Unrest

Volcano News (Source: GVP)

MVO reported that during 15-22 January activity from Soufrière Hills consisted of cycles of vigorous ash venting, rockfalls, and pyroclastic flows. On 18 January, a small lava-dome collapse from the W side of the volcano generated a large pyroclastic flow that traveled 4 km and reached the sea.

IG reported that during 20-26 January explosions from Tungurahua were detected by the seismic network. Ashfall was noted almost daily in areas to the SW and sometimes to the W and NW. During 20-23 January lava fountains and explosions ejected incandescent blocks that fell onto and rolled down the flanks.

Ongoing Activity

Barren Island, Andaman Is;  Batu Tara, Komba Island (Indonesia); Chaitén, Southern Chile; Fuego, Guatemala; Gaua, Banks Islands (SW Pacific);  Karymsky, Eastern Kamchatka;  Kilauea, Hawaii (USA);  Kliuchevskoi, Central Kamchatka (Russia);  Llaima, Central Chile;  Sakura-jima, Kyushu;  Santa María, Guatemala;  Shiveluch, Central Kamchatka (Russia);  Suwanose-jima, Ryukyu Islands (Japan).

Related Links:

More Links:

FEWW Volcanic Activity Forecast

VolcanoWatch Weekly [ previous 4 entries ]

Posted in Chaiten, Global Volcanism, Soufrière Hills, Tungurahua, Volcano News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Earthquakes: Worst Disaster Type in Past Decade

Posted by feww on January 29, 2010

Earthquakes caused the deadliest disasters in 2000-09 decade: UNISDR

In its recent News Brief, United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Secretariat (UNISDR) reported that about 60 per cent of the people killed by disasters in the past decade died as a result of earthquakes.

List of Top 10 Natural disasters by number of deaths – 2009. Source: UNISDR. Click image to enlarge.

“Earthquakes are the deadliest natural hazard of the past ten years and remain a serious threat for millions of people worldwide as eight out of the ten most populous cities in the world are on earthquake fault-lines,” said Margareta Wahlström, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction.

“Disaster risk reduction is an indispensable investment for each earthquake-prone city and each community. Seismic risk is a permanent risk and cannot be ignored. Earthquakes can happen anywhere at any time. Risk reduction will be a main priority in the Haiti reconstruction process, and we will be working with our partners to ensure that it is central in the reconstruction.”

The Center for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) has released the following statistics covering the past 10 years:

Number of disasters for 2000-20009 period: 3,852 disasters

  • Death toll from the disasters: 780,000 people
  • Total number of people affected by the disasters: about a thirs of the planet’s population (more than two billion people)
  • Cost of the damage caused by the disasters: About 1 trillion (US$960 billion).

The worst hit continent in terms of human losses:  Asia, accounting for 85 per cent of all fatalities.

Disaster Types

  • The worst category: Earthquakes, accounting for 60 percent of the fatalities
  • Second Worst Disaster Category:  Storms, accounting for 22 percent of the deaths.
  • Third deadliest: Extremes of Temperature, accounting for 11  percent of the casualties.

The deadliest disasters of the 2000-2009 decade:

  • Indian Ocean Tsunami:   Struck several countries in Asia (2004),  leaving 226,408 dead
  • Cyclone Nargis: Struck  Myanmar (2008), killing 138,366 people
  • Sichuan earthquake:  China (2008) killed at least 87,476 people
  • Pakistan (2005) earthquake: Killed 73,338 people w
  • Heat waves in Europe (2003): Killed 72,210

Human impact by disaster types. Source: UNISDR. Click image to enlarge.

“The number of catastrophic events has more than doubled since the 1980-1989 decade. In contrast, the numbers of affected people have increased at a slower rate. This may be due to better community preparedness and prevention,” said Professor Guha-Sapir, Director of CRED.

Of the more than two billion affected people

  • 44 per cent were affected by floods
  • 30 per cent by droughts
  • ONLY 4 per cent by earthquakes

The  death toll for the last 3 decades (annual average)

  • 2000 decade: 78,000 people per year(ppy)
  • 1990s decade: 43,000 ppy
  • 1980s decade: 75,000  (worsened by two major droughts and famines in Ethiopia and Sudan)

Natural Hazard Events (annual average) and Estimated Economic  Damage

  • 2000 decade: 385  at a cost of US$96 billion
  • 1990 decade: 285  at a cost of US$99 billion
  • 1980 decade: 165  at a cost of US$39 billion

Percentage of people killed by natural disasters by region. Source: UNISDR. Click image to enlarge.

In 2009, some 10,416 people were killed in 327 disasters and  a further 113 million others were affected. Cost of the economic damage:  US$34.9 billion. {there were no major disasters). the total number of people killed and affected by disasters was lower than in 2008, as no major disaster occurred.

In contrast, the 2000-2008 annual averages were 85,535 (deaths), 229,792,397 (affected) and US$102.7 billion (economic damages).

Natural disaster occurrence by disaster type. Source: UNISDR. Click image to enlarge.

The worst disaster in 2009

The worst disaster in 2009 (highest death toll) was the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, on 30 September, killing at least 1,100 people.  It was followed by typhoons Morakot, Ketsana and Parma and numerous floods that killed many in Asia, which was home to six of the top 10 countries with the highest number of disaster-related deaths.

Most populous cities on EQ fault-lines (A-Z): Delhi, Jakarta, Kolkata Mexico City, Mumbai, New York, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Source: UNISDR; edited by FEWW

Note: IF the numbers of fatalities/casualties in a given disaster are claimed to be larger than a few hundreds, and no video or photographic evidence is presented to support the claim, those figures should be carefully analyzed. Governments and aid organizations invariably exaggerate the casualty figures to maximize the inflow of aid and donations for self-serving purposes and interests other than those of the victims. See footnote at

Related Links:

Posted in disaster, disaster continent, natural disasters, storms, UNISDR | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Strong Earthquake Strikes Vanuatu

Posted by feww on January 29, 2010

Strong Earthquake Measuring Up to M6.3 Struck Vanuatu

The quake struck about 65 km (40 miles) NNE of Isangel, Tanna, Vanuatu, at a depth of about 85 km (52.8 miles) on Friday, January 29, 2010 at 09:20 UTC.

The mainshock  was preceded by a foreshock measuring up to 5.4Mw which occurred about an hour earlier.

There was no tsunami generated by the quakes, and as of posting no damage or casualties report was made.

Traitor’s Head and Yasur Volcanoes

Today’s main event occurred near Erromango Basin about 45 km SE of Traitor’s Head volcano and some 56 Km NNE of Yasur volcano and may well prove significant in any forthcoming activity at the two volcanoes.

Earthquake Details

  • Magnitude as reported by USGS: 6.0 [Max EQ magnitude estimated by FEWW: 6.3 Mw]
  • Date-Time
    • Friday, January 29, 2010 at 09:20:04 UTC
    • Friday, January 29, 2010 at 08:20:04 PM at epicenter
  • Location: 19.039°S, 169.540°E
  • Depth: 85 km (52.8 miles)
  • Region VANUATU
  • Distances:
    • 65 km (40 miles) NNE of Isangel, Tanna, Vanuatu
    • 195 km (120 miles) SE of PORT-VILA, Efate, Vanuatu
    • 325 km (200 miles) NNE of Tadine, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia
    • 1935 km (1200 miles) ENE of BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia
  • Location Uncertainty:  horizontal +/- 8.3 km (5.2 miles); depth +/- 6.7 km (4.2 miles)
  • Source: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
  • Event ID:  us2010sbaw

Map of Vanuatu. Credit: M.Minderhoud. Click image to enlarge.

EQ Location Map. Source: USGS/EHP. Enhanced by FEWW. Click image to enlarge.

EQ Location Map. Source: USGS/EHP. Edited and Enhanced by FEWW. Click image to enlarge.

Seismic Hazard Map

Major Tectonic Boundaries: Subduction Zones -purple, Ridges -red and Transform Faults -green. Source: USGS/EHP.Click image to enlarge.

Historic Seismicity

Major Tectonic Boundaries: Subduction Zones -purple, Ridges -red and Transform Faults -green. Source: USGS/EHP. Click image to enlarge.

Related Links:

Posted in Efate quake, Erromango Basin, Loyalty Islands, vanuatu earthquake, volcanism | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Volcano Ash Threatens Ecuador’s Ambato City

Posted by feww on January 29, 2010

Ambato May Become a Ghost City

Tungurahua Volcano, “Throat of Fire,” Eruption Continues

Volcanic ash from Tungurahua volcano, which has been erupting for the past several weeks, has covered a wide area of central Ecuador, including provincial capital city of Ambato, authorities said.

Tungurahua volcano, located near Baños, Ecuador. Photo Credit: Martin Zeise, Berlin. SEE Official license. Click Image to enlarge.

Authorities fear that the volcanic ash from Tungurahua, will cause heavy crop loss as well as health problems.

“People have to protect their nose and eyes, because the volcanic dust causes problems in the respiratory system,” provincial health Director was quoted as saying.

However, most of the residents of Ambato, located in Ecuador’s central Andean valley, have ignored government advice to done masks, as they swept thick blankets of ash from the streets, health officials said, UPI reported.

“Since the reactivation of the volcano this year, this is the first time that the dust has fallen on the streets of the city,” a city official told Quito’s El Comercio newspaper.

Tungurahua, which means “Throat of Fire,” is located about  180 km south of Quito, capital city of Equador.

After a large eruption on Jan. 11, Tungurahua has continued to eject columns of ash reaching  as high as 4,000 meters above the summit. The volcano erupted more than 20 times on Wednesday, said Daniel Andrade of Ecuadorian Instituto Geofísico (the Institute of Geophysics).

City of Ambato

The city of Ambato (1°14′30″S, 78°37′11″W) lies in the valley of the Central Cordillera and is surrounded by snow-capped volcanoes including Carihuairazo, Cotopaxi, Tungurahua and Chimborazo, the largest mountain in Ecuador.

Ambato has an estimated population of 400,000, has been destroyed by earthquakes several times throughout its history, the last incident occurred on 5 August 1949.

The earthquake completely destroyed the entire city as well as 50 of surrounding towns and villages,  killing at least 6,000, and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

Ambato is also prone to seasonal flooding due to the Ambato River which divides the north side of the city.

Tungurahua erupted on May 16, 2006, covering the city in a thick blanket of ash.

Tungurahua Volcano
Country: Ecuador
Volcano Number: 1502-08=
Volcano Type: Stratovolcano
Last Known Eruption: 2009
Summit Elevation: 5,023 m  (16,479 feet)
Latitude: 1.467°S  (1°28’1″S)
Longitude: 78.442°W  ( 78°26’30″W)
Source: Global Volcanism Program (GVP)

Snow-capped Tungurahua, seen from near the town of Baños on its northern flank, rises 3,200 m above steep-walled canyons. Historical eruptions, separated by long reposes, have produced powerful explosions, sometimes accompanied by pyroclastic flows and lava flows. All historical eruptions have originated from the summit crater, and have typically lasted for several years. The largest historical eruptions took place in 1886, 1916, and 1918.  Photo by Minard Hall, 1976 (Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Quito). Caption: GVP.
Click Image to enlarge.

A break in the clouds enabled the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Terra satellite to observe the eruption on January 23, 2010. As the satellite orbited overhead, a tan ash plume stretched 60 km (40 miles) to the southwest of the peak reaching an altitude of 27,000 feet (8,200 meters), more than 3,000 m (10,000 ft) above the 5,023 m (16,480 ft) summit. Observers from the Ecuadorian Instituto Geofísico reported lava fountains and lava blocks cascading down the flanks of the volcano, as well as loud booms and ashfall in the surrounding communities.
NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS RRT. Caption by Robert Simmon.  Edited by FEWW. Click Image to enlarge.

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Posted in Andean valley, ecuador, Ghost City, volcano, Volcano Hazard | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Super heat-trapping HFC-23 emissions up 50 pct

Posted by feww on January 28, 2010

Three Facts about HFC-23 Your Doctor Should Know

1. In the atmosphere, HFC-23 is 14,800 times more effective in trapping heat than its CO2 equivalent.

2. HFC-23 persists in the atmosphere for about 300 years.

3. Emissions in 2006-2008 jumped 50 percent above the 1990-2000 average.

HFC-23, or trifluoromethane, is a byproduct of chlorodifluoromethane, or HCFC-22, a refrigerant used in heat-exchange appliances, air conditioners and refrigerators, and a base compound for manufacturing heat and chemical-resistant materials such as  coatings and covering for cables, as well as aerosol propellants, solvents, fire fighting and foam blowing agents.

It is also heavily used in the semiconductor industry in plasma etching of silicon oxide and silicon nitride. Probably the most well known product associated with the release of HFC-23 to the atmosphere is Teflon, by DuPont.

Chlorodifluoromethane or difluoromonochloromethane is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) AKA, HCFC-22, or R-22

Chlorodifluoromethane is prepared from chloroform: HCCl3 + 2 HF → HCF2Cl + 2 HCl

CHF3 also known as: HFC-23, R-23, Fluoroform, Carbon trifluoride, Methyl trifluoride, Fluoryl, Freon 23, Arcton 1,  FE-13, UN 1984. CHF3 is produced as a by-product of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) aka Teflon (DuPont). It is also generated biologically in trace amounts.

“Without the international effort to reduce emissions of HFC-23, its emissions and atmospheric abundance would have been even larger in recent years,” said Stephen Montzka, a NOAA research chemist. “As it was, emissions in 2006-2008 were about 50 percent above the 1990-2000 average.”

The finding comes in the face  of worldwide efforts to prevent the gas release into the atmosphere. The Montreal Protocol stipulates the end of HCFC-22 production by 2020 in developed countries and 2030 in developing counties for those applications that allow  CFC-22 released to the atmosphere.

Unfortunately, The Montreal Protocol imposes no restriction on the production of  HCFC-22 from fluoropolymerization, which also co-produces the HFC-23. “The future atmospheric abundance of HFC-23 and its contribution to future climate change depends on amounts of HCFC-22 produced and the success of programs to reduce emissions of the co-generated HFC-23.”

“HFC-23 is one of the most potent greenhouse gases emitted as a result of human activities. Over a 100-year time span, one pound of HFC-23 released into the atmosphere traps heat 14,800 times more effectively than one pound of carbon dioxide. To date, the total accumulated emission of HFC-23 is small relative to other greenhouse gases, making this gas a minor (less than one percent) contributor to climate change at present.” NOAA Press Release said.

Scientists measured air collected from above the snow surface and down to 380 feet below the snow surface during field studies in Antarctica in 2001, 2005 and 2009. Using these results, they were able to determine how amounts of HFC-23 and other gases affecting climate and stratospheric ozone have changed in the recent past. The first published measurements of HFC-23 appeared in 1998 but this was the first time scientists examined how HFC-23 emissions have changed since 1996, particularly in developing nations and since the UNFCCC’s projects to reduce emissions began in 2003.

“Recent increases in global FHC-23 emission” by S.A. Montzka, L. Kuijpers, M.O.Battle, M. Aydin, K. Verhulst, E.S. Saltzman, D.W.Fahey will be published by January 29 in Geophysical Research Letters.

Posted in carbon dioxide, chlorodifluoromethane, GHG, GHG emissions, trifluoromethane | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Strong Earthquake Strikes Nr Pandan Philippines

Posted by feww on January 28, 2010

Strong Earthquake Measuring Up to 6.3Mw Strikes Near Catanduanes Island Province, Philippines Islands

An earthquake measuring up to magnitude 6.3 struck about 140 km (90 miles) ESE of Pandan, Catanduanes Island Province, Philippines at an estimated  depth of 25 km on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 18:50 UTC

Mt Mayon
The earthquake struck about 193 km (120 miles) ENE of Mt Mayon and could potentially trigger the volcano for another round of unrest/activity. The quake followed two earlier shocks which struck the same area on January 21, 2010, with the larger event measuring up to 5.8Mw.

Damage/ Casualties
As of posting, there were no reports of damage or casualties.

Tsunami Report
The Hawaii Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue a tsunami warning, or watch.

FEWW Forecast: Fire-Earth Moderators believe a Mega-quake could strike in or around Philippines Islands.

10-degree Map Centered at 15°N,125°E

EQ Location Map. Source: USGS/EHP. Enhanced by FEWW. Click image to enlarge.

Earthquake Details:

  • Magnitude reported by USGS: 6.1 [Max EQ magnitude estimated by FEWW: 6.3 Mw]
  • Date-Time:
    • Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 18:49:33 UTC
    • Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 02:49:33 AM at epicenter
  • Location: 13.684°N, 125.440°E
  • Depth: 24.7 km (15.3 miles)
  • Distances:
    • 140 km (90 miles) ESE of Pandan, Catanduanes, Philippines
    • 190 km (120 miles) ENE of Legaspi, Luzon, Philippines
    • 200 km (125 miles) NNE of Calbayog, Samar, Philippines
    • 495 km (305 miles) ESE of MANILA, Philippines
  • Location Uncertainty: horizontal +/- 7.6 km (4.7 miles); depth +/- 22.1 km (13.7 miles) (?)
  • Source: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
  • Event ID: us2010rzbv

Historic Seismicity Since 1900

Major Tectonic Boundaries: Subduction Zones -purple, Ridges -red and Transform Faults -green. Source: USGS/EHP. Enhanced by FEWW. Click image to enlarge.

Seismic Hazard Map

Major Tectonic Boundaries: Subduction Zones -purple, Ridges -red and Transform Faults -green. Source: USGS/EHP. Enhanced by FEWW. Click image to enlarge.

Estimated Population Exposed to Earthquake Shaking [PDF]

Related Links:

Posted in earthquake forecast, Manila, Philippines quake, Seismic Hazard, shake map | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Democracy in Spain Mainly Falls Flat …

Posted by feww on January 27, 2010

Nuclear Waste? YES PLEASE!

How many mad town councilors does it take to risk contaminating a region with nuke waste?

Small Spanish town of Asco in the northeastern Catalonia region, needed only a handful—seven.

Despite strong opposition from the regional government and repeated street protests by the town residents, Asco town council voted by seven votes to two to bid for a nuclear waste dump in the region.

The dump would reportedly cost about a $1 billion to erect and creates 300 jobs for less than five years.

Apparently, those stats were good enough for the the town mayor, Rafael Vidal.

“We have the opportunity to build an Asco…which will spur controversy but doubtless bring important revenues to the local economy,” Mayor said in comments broadcast on a TV channel, Reuters reported.

The president of the Catalan regional government, Jose Montilla, has already declared his objections to building a nuclear dump in Catalonia, though the region has 3 of Spain’s eight nuclear power plants.

“Catalan power stations produce 40 percent of all of Spain’s power. We’ve done our bit,” he said.

“Spent nuclear fuel in Spain is currently stored on site in power stations, but the government predicts they will begin to fill up in 2013. The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, has urged Spain to begin work on a purpose-built site.” Reuters reported.

Spain’s socialist govt under its Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero has promised to freeze building nuclear power plants, but will allow the existing outlets  to operate for at least 10 more years.

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Posted in Democracy in Spain, energy, Jose Luis Zapatero, nuclear power, Spain | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

There has to be altruism in the universe: Physicist

Posted by feww on January 27, 2010

In Nascent Characteristics of the Cosmos

Our friends at EDRO wrote:

The Cosmos supports “life” [rebirth] therefore its structure must be ethical and its elements altruistic.

“Aliens May Already Be Among Us!”

If you want to look for aliens, look closer to home. You may find extra-terrestrial life forms, probably just microscopic particles,  could still be floating around “right under our noses , or even in our noses,” Paul Davies, Arizona State University physicist,  and Director of BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, told a group of scientists in London.

“How do we know all life on earth descended from a single origin?” He told his audience  at a science  lecture. “We’ve just scratched the surface of the microbial world.”

Davies argues that because less than 1 percent of the total number of world’s bacteria are known, there could well be some surprises hidden in or around our planet, waiting to be discovered.

It’s quite probable, of course, that “many” types of “extra-terrestrial” microorganisms live here on earth. But that’s not to say those organisms are/were necessarily capable of evolving into macroscopic ones.

Based on the notes of his lecture, therefore, our Moderators do NOT consider professor’s argument very convincing. It’s taking the notion, scope and application of statistics a bit too far. But kudos, of course, for trying.

And to his credit, he told his audience at the conference that “the scientist in me screams out for caution.”

The theory that alien micro-organisms lurk around here on earth is nothing new. There are a number of scientists who are looking for signs of alien life in our world.

What’s Wrong with SETI?

Nothing really, it’s lots of fun doing what they do. But they are looking only in “3+1” dimensions. They are looking for “mechanical” proof, indirectly imposing their terms on the rest of the universe.

What they are implying is,  i) we hope, and strongly suspect there are [or should be] other life forms in the universe, ii) if so, the aliens must be far away from us because we haven’t discovered them so far, iii) the aliens must be more advanced than us [because we have really f**ked up here on Earth, or else we’d be half way to SIRIUS by now,] iv) WE insist to discover the more intelligent aliens on OUR terms.

There’s an allegory about a young kid who lost a coin in a dark place, but went looking frantically for it half a block away under a street light. A passer-by, being a good Samaritan, offered to help.
“What is it you have lost?” he asked.
“My money,”
replied the kid with tearful eyes.
The Samaritan joined in the search; however, half an hour and a small crowd later he couldn’t find the coin.
“Where exactly did you lose your Money? He asked the kid exasperatedly.
“About half a block that way,” the kid pointed with his finger.
“Then why are you looking for your money here if you lost it half a block up that way?”
“Because this is the nearest street light, ”  replied the kid indignantly.

What if aliens existed in one or more parallel universes? What if you could travel to these universes not by pathetic mechanical means, like rockets and space modules, but through other forms of transportation, in a manner as simple as switching a TV channel on a remote control unit?

Despite some advances in quantum physics, our science still provides for and dwells in an electromechanical world.

“Are aliens among us?”

We have a feeling that Prof Davies thinks there are. But he has no way of proving it. It’s just a strong hunch, series of coincidences, his powerful imagination and the ability to analyze those features in a human framework.

Frank Drake, the Cornell University astronomer who in 1960 conducted the first modern SETI experiment, “Project Ozma,” says we can only confirm the existence of  life elsewhere in the universe if a prospective alien civilization decided to respond. And he is 100 percent correct, of course.

Drake also said: “There has to be altruism in the universe.”

He’s right, again, one hundred percent because we have volumes of evidence to that effect.

So, Prof Davies, here’s a possible answer to your question, in two parts.

Part 1 of the answer:  “The Cosmos is ethical and altruistic.  The Cosmos supports rebirth. On those notions alone, its difficult to believe that it  would only manifests its splendor in one tiny corner of only one of its multiple domains.”

Part 2 of the answer:  “Given the characteristics described above, IF ‘aliens’ [anyone consciously aware of its full genetic ID, e.g, via ancestral memory] did live among us, would you honestly expect them to come forward and be used by our non-ethical, non-altruistic civilization?”

Related Links:

Posted in alien life form, ancestral memory, extra-terrestrial, parallel universes, rebirth | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

El Niño Weekly Update [25 Jan 2010]

Posted by feww on January 26, 2010

ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

El Niño Weekly UPDATE prepared by Climate Prediction Center / NCEP –  25 January 2010

The latest weekly SST departures are:

  • Niño 4   ~  1.4ºC
  • Niño 3.4  ~  1.4ºC
  • Niño 3 ~ 0.8ºC
  • Niño 1+2 ~ 0.1ºC

El Niño Map. [SOURCE: NOAA/ Climate Prediction Center / NCEP]

Weekly SST Departures (ºC) for the Last Four Weeks

  • During the last four weeks, positive SST anomalies have weakened across the eastern half of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • During the last 30 days, equatorial SST anomalies have decreased across the east-central and eastern Pacific.

SST Departures (°C) in the Tropical Pacific During the Last 4 Weeks

During the last 4-weeks, equatorial SSTs were more than 2.0°C above average between 170°W and 145°W.
Click image to enlarge.

Global SST Departures (°C)

During the last four weeks, equatorial SSTs were above-average across the Pacific, Indian, and eastern Atlantic Oceans. Also, above-average SSTs covered large areas of the Northern Hemisphere subtropics.

Click image to enlarge.

Atmospheric Circulation over the North Pacific & North America During the Last 60 Days

From late November to early January, strong mid-latitude westerlies(East Asian and Atlantic jets) were accompanied by troughs over the North Pacific and North America. The troughs contributed to below-average temperatures across the U.S. and southern Canada. At higher latitudes, strong ridging led to above-average temperatures across Alaska and northern Canada. Since early January, the East Asian jet has extended farther east and a trough has strengthened over the eastern Pacific. Over much of N. America, strong ridging has contributed to above-average temperatures across Canada and the northern and western U.S. Troughs and below-average temperatures have prevailed over the southeastern U.S. This recent pattern is typical of ElNiño.

Unless otherwise stated, information and images on this page are sourced from Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NOAA. Edited by FEWW

For additional information, previous entries and diagrams see links below:


  • El Niño is present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) are 1.0ºC-3.0ºC above-average across much of the central and east-central equatorial Pacific.
  • Based on current observations and dynamical model forecasts, El Niño is expected to continue at least into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2010.

Related Links:

El Niño Updates:

Posted in El Niño 2010, El Niño impact, Oceanic Niño Index, SST anomalies, Tropical Pacific SST | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Greedy Google Grows Grabbing National Assets

Posted by feww on January 26, 2010

submitted by a reader

First NASA and Now NOAA

Google is gradually absorbing lucrative segments of national institutions

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, is targeted by Google for eventual takeover.

NOAA’s Press Release proudly declares:

Picture This: NOAA, Google Join Forces to Visualize Scientific Data

Now Picture This, Einstein: Most of you guys would be out of a job as soon as Google can seize the opportunity to engineer  a “takeover” and have NOAA bastardized into tiny commercial/ semi-commercial units.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a government organization whose roots go back more than two centuries. It collects, analyzes, predicts and disseminates data on weather. Why does it need a corporate predator to teach it how to chew the fat, or shoot the breeze?

NOAA’s website says:

NOAA is an agency that enriches life through science. Our reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor as we work to keep citizens informed of the changing environment around them.

NOT for much longer, if Google has anything to do with it. Translation: Don’t hold your breaths!

NOAA’s Press Release continues:

NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and Google have signed a cooperative research and development agreement outlining how they will work together to create state-of-the-art visualizations of scientific data to illustrate how our planet works.

You mean a business deal,  where Google stands behind, while NOAA grabs its proverbial ankles, right?

“It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Here, we think NOAA’s billions of bits of data are worth thousands of pictures,” said Richard W. Spinrad, Ph.D., NOAA assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research. “Through this agreement, Google’s technical expertise will help to improve access to NOAA data in ways that allow the scientific community and the public to better use our information to understand earth science and make informed decisions.”

Why fix something, if it ain’t broke?

It’s unclear whether the deal was authorized by Richard W. Spinrad, Ph.D., NOAA assistant administrator, or signed by NOAA Administrator, Dr. Jane Lubchenco.

Under the agreement, NOAA and Google plan to work together on research and development to join NOAA’s oceanographic, meteorological, biological, and climatological data with Google’s software capabilities. The wide availability of Google’s Internet tools has the potential to bring visualizations of NOAA data to new audiences around the world.

Oh, really? Have you asked Google just exactly why THEY are doing all this and WHAT exactly THEY expect to get from it, Mr Assistant Administrator? Of course not! I bet you’re too busy admiring the wine!

What’s wrong with NOAA and the intelligent parts of NASA and … working together? What’s the problem, are they short of scientists, funds, time or something?

Dr. Jane Lubchenco, as NOAA Administrator YOU have a duty to protect national assets. Google is predatory, non-charitable organization. PULL out of the deal before they DESTROY NOAA and its national assets.

Stop grossly greedy google growing gigantic gobbling govt goods!

Related Links:

Posted in corporate predator, government organization, nasa, National Assets, usgs | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

Earthquake, Heavy Rain, Mudslides Strike Peru

Posted by feww on January 26, 2010

Peru Under Siege from Earthquake, Heavy Rain and Mudslides, 3 Killed

Strong quake measuring up to magnitude 6.1 struck inside the Peruvian Amazon rain forest 20 km (10 miles) SSE of Pucallpa, Peru at a depth of about 153 km, on Monday, January 25, 2010 at 22:53 UTC.

As of posting, there were no reports of damage or casualties, however, The tremors were felt in Trujillo, Chimbote, Cerro de Pasco, Huánuco, Lima (capital), Pucallpa, San Ramón. The quake was felt also in Cruzeiro do Sul, Brazil,  a report said.

Heavy Rain and Mudslides

The overflowing Vilcanota and Rio Blanco rivers in the Andean province of Cusco, southeastern Peru, have flooded hundreds of hectares (acres) of corn crop, AFP reported.

Heavy rains have buffeted the region in the past three days, flooding rivers and causing mudslides that killed at least two people and damaged stone walls at Inca sites, associated Press reported.

Meanwhile, heavy rain and mudslides blocked the train route to the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, stranding about 2,000 tourists, the tourism ministry said.

“Rail is the only means of transportation on the last leg of the trip to Machu Picchu from the ancient Inca capital of Cusco.”AP said.

Elsewhere in the region, the overflowing Yanama river has pinned down trucks and long-distance passenger coaches at the Cusco-Abancay highway. The flooding has damaged or destroyed about  50 homes and also destroyed crops, officials said.

A magnitude 7.9 quake and resulting landslides in Northern Peru killed an estimated 70,000 people and injured up to 150,000 others, leaving half a million homeless.

Earthquake Location map.
Source: USGS/EHP. Enhanced by FEWW.

Peru Earthquake Details:

  • Magnitude reported by USGS: 5.8  [EQ magnitude estimated by FEWW: 6.1 Mw]
  • Date-Time:
    • Monday, January 25, 2010 at 22:52:47 UTC
    • Monday, January 25, 2010 at 05:52:47 PM at epicenter
  • Location: 8.546°S, 74.467°W
  • Depth: 153.4 km (95.3 miles)
  • Region: CENTRAL PERU
  • Distances:
    • 20 km (10 miles) SSE of Pucallpa, Peru
    • 230 km (140 miles) WSW of Cruzeiro do Sul, Acre, Brazil
    • 240 km (150 miles) NE of Huanuco, Peru
    • 485 km (300 miles) NE of LIMA, Peru
  • Location Uncertainty: horizontal +/- 7.2 km (4.5 miles); depth +/- 4.3 km (2.7 miles)
  • Source: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)
  • Event ID: us2010rxcf

Seismic Hazard Map

Major Tectonic Boundaries: Subduction Zones -purple, Ridges -red and Transform Faults -green.  Source: USGS/EHP.

Historic Seismicity [Mag 7 or greater since 1900]

Major Tectonic Boundaries: Subduction Zones -purple, Ridges -red and Transform Faults -green.  Source: USGS/EHP.

Political Map of Peru.

Earthquake Location

Earthquake Location Map.
Source: USGS/EHP. Click image to enlarge.

Related Links:

Posted in Cruzeiro do Sul, earthquake, earthquake 2010, Machu Picchu, Yanama river | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Ethiopian airliner ‘shot down by Israeli missile’

Posted by feww on January 25, 2010

Ethiopian jet crashed into the Mediterranean

Informed sources advise the blog that the plane may have been shot down by an Israeli missile.

An Ethiopian Airlines jet with 90 people on board crashed into the Mediterranean sea earlier today.

An Ethiopian Airlines 737-800.  Photo released by Boeing.
Image may be subject to copyright.

The plane crashed shortly after take-off from Beirut international airport at about 2:00am local time on Monday, airport sources said, Reuters reported.

“The Boeing 737-800 disappeared off the radar some five minutes after taking off, shortly after its scheduled departure time of 2:10 a.m. (7:10 p.m. EST), during a thunderstorm and heavy rain, the sources said. It was heading for Addis Ababa.”

Eyewitnesses say the plane exploded midair and they saw a “ball of fire” in the air before the plane crashed off Na’ameh village, a few kilometers south of Beirut, according to various sources.

“(The crash) site has been identified three-and-a-half km (two miles) west of the (coastal) village of Na’ameh,” officials said, Reuters reported.

There were Eighty-three passengers and seven crew onboard the airliner, according to the plane’s manifest, Reuters reported sources as saying.

“About 50 passengers were Lebanese nationals, three with dual nationalities: British, Canadian and Russian. Most of the others were Ethiopians. Hundreds of Ethiopians work as domestic helpers in Lebanon.”

The plane had flown to Beirut from Addis Ababa earlier in the night and was returning to Ethiopia.

Marla Pietton, wife of the French ambassador to Lebanon Denis Pietton, was on the downed plane, according to the French embassy.

“We saw a flash in the sky…  We saw a flash over the sea and it was the plane falling.” Another eyewitness told reporters.

Previous incidents of passenger jets destroyed by military shoot-down include:

  • Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was shot down by Soviet air force jet on September 1, 1983, over the Sea of Japan, west of Sakhalin island, after it entered prohibited Soviet airspace.
  • Iran Air Flight 655 was shot down over the Strait of Hormuz by missiles fired from the U.S. Navy’s guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes, killing all 290 passengers and crew onboard, including 66 children, on Sunday 3 July 1988.
  • On July 17th, 1996, TWA flight 800, a Boeing 747-131, which had just taken off from JFK airport heading to Paris, France, was struck by an “external object” believed to be a military test missile, exploded and fell into the Atlantic ocean, killing all 230 people onboard.

State-owned carrier, Ethiopian airline flies to about 60 destinations, and is said to have a “good” safety record. In 1996 one of the airlines’ planes was hijacked and later ditched into sea off Comoros killing 123 people. Another 52 people survived the incident.

Related Links:

Posted in Addis Ababa, air travel, airline safety, ball of fire, Beirut Airport | Tagged: , , , , , | 41 Comments »

Air New Zealand: Another ‘Close Call’

Posted by feww on January 25, 2010

Air New Zealand in another ‘Close Call,’ Airbus in Emergency Landing and Landing-Gear Fire that Injured 42

Our thanks to blogger TEAA for the information on the two ‘Close Calls’ in New Zealand airspace.

An Air New Zealand Double Tragedy Waiting to Happen

Air New Zealand had a “close call” as two passenger aircraft over Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu came close enough to spark an automatic warning to the two pilots, the Otago Daily Times reported.

“CAA spokeswoman Emma Peel said yesterday an Air New Zealand Boeing 737 was approaching Queenstown Airport’s runway last Saturday when it was warned by its “terrain collision avoidance system” another aircraft was in the area.” The report said.

Emergency Landing at Auckland International Airport

Another Emergency Landing at Auckland International Airport

An  Airbus A340-200, 60 minutes into its flight from Auckland to Buenos Aires, reported the shutdown of its No. 1 engine, and returned to Auckland, scaring the living daylight out of its passengers. Fortunately for the 229 tourists onboard,  the plane landed without incident at about 10.25pm,  a report said.

Plane catches fire in Iran, injures 42 of 157 passengers

Some 42 passengers were injured when an aircraft caught fire as it landed in northeastern Iran on Sunday, Reuters reported state radio as saying.

“About 42 passengers, out of 157 aboard, were injured when the plane was landing at Mashhad city’s airport,” said head of Iran’s emergency medical services.

“In the worst plane crash in Iran in the past six years, a Tupolev aircraft crashed in 2009 in Iran on its way to Armenia, after catching fire mid-air and crashing into farmland killing all 168 people on board.” Report said.

Related Links:

Posted in air new zealand, airbus, Auckland International Airport, Close Call, emergency landing | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Texas waterway polluted after tanker collision

Posted by feww on January 24, 2010

Massive Oil Spill in Texas, Residents Scurry to Shelter

A tanker sustained a large hole the size of a billboard on Saturday after it collided with a barge in Port Arthur, Texas, releasing  a very large amount of  crude oil into the water, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The Eagle Otome  collided with a barge in Port Arthur, Texas. Handout photograph taken and released on January 23, 2010. The Coast Guard initial estimate of the spilled oil is about 450,000 gallons. Credit: U.S. Coast Guard/Handout via Reuters.

“The tanker was carrying crude oil to Exxon Mobil Corp’s refinery in Beaumont, Texas, located north of Port Arthur. The waterway, through which tankers carry oil to four refineries in Port Arthur and Beaumont, Texas, remained shut on Saturday night.” Reuters reported.

The collision tore a large hole measuring about 4.5 meter-by-2.5-meter (15 by 8 ft) in the side of the 250-meter (810-foot) tanker Eagle Otome, the Coast Guard said. No injuries were reported as a result of the crash, Reuters reported .

About half a million gallons of spilled crude oil released hydrogen sulfide into the air prompting port authorities to issue warnings recommending nearby residents to stay indoors.

A dozen or so people reportedly scurried to a shelter; however, the vapors quickly dissipated, according to the police chief, the report said.

The Eagle Otome  collided with a barge in Port Arthur, Texas. Handout photograph taken and released on January 23, 2010.  Credit: U.S. Coast Guard/Handout via Reuters. Click image to enlarge.

Port Arther sustained severe damage after hurricane Rita made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane on September 23 between Sabine Pass, Texas, and Johnsons Bayou, Louisiana.Credit: Bob McMillan/ FEMA Photo (Date: September 28, 2005)

Related Links:

Posted in hydrogen sulfide hazard, Jefferson County, oil disaster, oil spill, Texas oil spill | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

2000-2009 Warmest Decade on Record

Posted by feww on January 23, 2010

January 2000 to December 2009 the warmest decade on record

In an earlier post:

Year 2009 was the 2nd warmest year on record, NASA GISS reported. As for the overall global temperatures, the year was only marginally cooler than 2005, the warmest on record (modern records began in 1880), sharing joint 2nd position with the years 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007, GISS analysis show.

Temperature anomalies for 2009. Acquired January 1, 2009 – December 31, 2009

Temperature anomalies for 2000–2009 acquired January 1, 2000 – December 31, 2009

These maps illustrate just how much warmer temperatures were in 2009 (top image) and the decade (2000-2009, lower image) compared to average temperatures recorded between 1951 and 1980 (a common reference period for climate studies). In both images, the most extreme warming, shown in red, was in the Arctic. Very few areas saw cooler than average temperatures, shown in blue in both time periods. Gray areas over Africa and parts of the Southern Ocean are places where temperatures were not recorded. NASA images by Robert Simmon, based on data from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Caption by Adam Voiland and Holli Riebeek. Edited by FEWW.

The map shows temperature changes for the last decade — January 2000 to December 2009 — relative to the 1951-1980 mean. Warmer areas are in red, cooler areas in blue. The largest temperature increases occurred in the Arctic and a portion of Antarctica. (Image credit: NASA). Click Image to enlarge.

Except for a leveling off between the 1940s and 1970s, Earth’s surface temperatures have increased since 1880. The last decade has brought the temperatures to the highest levels ever recorded. The graph shows global annual surface temperatures relative to 1951-1980 mean temperatures. As shown by the red line, long-term trends are more apparent when temperatures are averaged over a five year period. (Image credit: NASA).
Click Image to enlarge.

As seen by the blue point farthest to the right on this graph, 2009 was the warmest year on record in the Southern Hemisphere. (Image credit: NASA).  Click Image to enlarge.

Related Links:

Posted in global temperatures, Goddard space institute, Warmest Decade | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Storms Attack on California

Posted by feww on January 23, 2010

California Buffeted by Severe Storms

Several days of severe storms brought high winds and heavy rains to California, causing flooding, power outages and mudslides. Above image is a GOES-MODIS composite taken on January 20. Credit NASA.

Related Links:

Posted in Calif storm satellite image, Calif tornadoes, El Niño, Pacific storm | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

What Cyclone Magda Looked Like

Posted by feww on January 23, 2010

Tropical Cyclone Magda Making Landfall

Tropical Cyclone Magda made landfall at 01:35UTC on January 22 in northern West Australia. Image captured by MODIS on NASA’s Terra satellite. Magda was expected to dissipate quickly over land this weekend. Credit NASA.

Meanwhile, Tropical Cyclone OLGA, forecast to be near 16.1S 147.6E, moving  at 24 km/h (13 knots),  270 degrees, continued to strengthen gradually.

  • Max sustained winds forecast at 12:00UTC
    on 23 January: 93 km/h
  • Gusts: 120 km/h

Related Links:

Posted in MAGDA, ROPICAL CYCLONE OLGA, storm, tropical cyclone, tropical cyclone Magda | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Google China Censorship

Posted by feww on January 23, 2010

Hilary Clinton, Eat Google!

Clinton to China: Do as we say, NOT as we do!

Thought for the Day:

If Google China censorship in China is done to appease the Chinese government, who or what is Google, Inc (the Internet Mafia) appeasing by filtering, blocking and burying certain information posted on Fire-Earth (this Blog)?

Mrs Clinton to Chinese Government:  (Pointing by one hand) What you are asking Google to do is suppression of democracy;  (pointing by the other hand) Google censorship in the US and rest of the ‘free world’
is for our own good. Google is trying to protect our way of life. Image source unknown. Image may be subject to copyright.

See Also:

Google’s Top 10 List of ‘Holy Cows’


News, information and analysis of public value on the blogs listed below are also censored, blocked or buried, by Google, Inc.

Note: The above image incorporates the Google logo, which is a trade mark of that disgraceful corporation. Click image to enlarge!

Related Links:

Google says their motto is “Do No Evil!” yet most of their immoral earnings come from predatory advertising, and their corporate practice is suppression of information!

Recent Links:


Posted in censorship, do no evil, immoral earnings, information suppression, predatory advertising | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

December Ocean Temperature 2nd Warmest

Posted by feww on January 23, 2010

Overall 2009 Annual Temperatures Joint Fifth-Warmest

The 2009 December global ocean temperature was  the second warmest on record, The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The map shows temperature changes for the last decade — January 2000 to December 2009 — relative to the 1951-1980 mean. Warmer areas are in red, cooler areas in blue. The largest temperature increases occurred in the Arctic and a portion of Antarctica. (Image credit: NASA). Click image to enlarge.

The overall 2009 annual temperatures was a joint fifth-warmest, their records show.

“Based on records going back to 1880, the monthly NCDC analysis is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides. Scientists also reported the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the eighth warmest on record for December,” according to scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

  • Global temperatures in 2009  tied with 2006 as the fifth-warmest on record.
  • The planet’s land surface temperatures in 2009 tied with 2003 as  seventh-warmest.
  • The overall annual ocean surface temperatures were fourth-warmest, joint position with 2002 and 2004.

Highlights for December 2009

The global ocean temperature was the second warmest on record, trailing 1997.

  • The temp anomaly was about one degree F (0.97ºF) above the 20th century average of 60.4ºF.
  • Global land and ocean surface temperatures combined were the eighth warmest since 1880, at 0.88ºF above the 20th century average of 54.0ºF.
  • The global land surface temperature was 0.63ºF above the 20th century average of 38.7ºF—the coolest December anomaly since 2002.

Global Temperature Highlights for 2009

  • In 2009, the annual global combined land and ocean surface temperature was 1.01ºF above the 20th century average of 58.0ºF sharing joint fifth-warmest position with 2006.

The average decadal temperature for the 2000-09 decade was 57.9ºF, the warmest on record topping the 1990-99 average by 0.02ºF, NCDC scientists said.

Other Heat Highlights

  • December Arctic sea ice cover was  an average of 12.4 million km² (4.8 million square miles),  falling 6.6 percent below the 1979-2000 average extent and the fourth lowest December extent since 1979, when records began.
  • “Antarctic sea ice extent in December was 2.1 percent above the 1979-2000 average, resulting in the 14th largest December extent on record. December Arctic sea ice extent has decreased by 3.3 percent per decade since 1979, while December Antarctic sea ice extent has increased by 0.6 percent per decade over the same period.”
  • Snow cover in Northern Hemisphere during December 2009 was the second largest on record, chasing 1985. “North American snow cover for December 2009 was the largest extent since satellite records began in 1967.”

Related Links:

Posted in combined land and ocean surface temp, Global Temperature, global temperatures, land and ocean temp, ocean surface temperatures | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Why Influenza Kills

Posted by feww on January 22, 2010

Double trouble: Bacterial super-infection after the flu

American Journal of Pathology
Public release date: 22-Jan-2010

Current research suggests that the flu may predispose to secondary bacterial infections, which account for a significant proportion of mortality during flu pandemics. The related report by Lee et al, “A mouse model of lethal synergism between influenza virus and Haemophilus influenzae,” appears in the February 2010 issue of The American Journal of Pathology.

Bacterial cells of Staphylococcus aureus, which is one of the causal agents of mastitis in dairy cows. Its large capsule protects the organism from attack by the cow’s immunological defenses. Magnified 50,000X. USDA.

Influenza affects between three and five million people annually, causing up to 500,000 deaths worldwide. While most people will recover in one to two weeks, others will develop life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia or bronchitis. High-risk groups for seasonal influenza include the very young and old, people with compromised immune systems, and pregnant women. However, during influenza pandemics, mortality may be significant in previously healthy young adults.

A common complication of flu infection is a secondary “super-infection” by bacteria, which greatly increases the morbidity and mortality of the disease. The most common bacterial agents found following flu pandemics have been Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Group A Streptococcus, and Staphylococcus aureus. Furthermore, reports of infection with antibiotic-resistant strains have been increasing in recent years.

To explore the mechanisms governing the increased pathogenesis of flu upon super-infection, a group led by Dr. Sally R. Sarawar of the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, San Diego, California confirmed that otherwise nonlethal influenza and H. influenzae infections cause high mortality rates in mice when flu infection precedes H. influenzae infection. Their data confirm a restricted time period for this heightened susceptibility and highlight that excessive bacterial, and not viral, growth is associated with increased lethality. The fact that this increased mortality was observed in both immunocompromised and immunocompetent mice suggests that even normal healthy people are at increased risk for complications following bacterial super-infection.

Lee et al suggest that the “lethal synergy between influenza virus and the bacterial respiratory pathogen, H. influenzae, is mediated by innate immunity. They observed that severe damage to the airways was an early event in the co-infected mice, eventually leading to death. This underscores the need for early antiviral and antibiotic treatment to combat severe disease in human patients and highlights the importance of vaccination and effective hygiene measures to prevent secondary bacterial infections during influenza infection. This new model will be useful for further investigating the mechanisms underlying severe disease caused by the interaction between influenza virus and bacteria, which may have resulted in numerous deaths during influenza pandemics and continues to constitute a significant clinical problem in susceptible individuals.” Currently ongoing studies suggest that this model may also be useful for identifying target molecules for the development of novel therapeutic agents and strategies. [EoPR]
Note: Image and caption not included in the press release.

What is Staphylococcus aureus? [Source: CDC]

Staphylococcus aureus, often referred to simply as “staph,” is a bacteria commonly found on the skin and in the nose of healthy people. Occasionally, staphylococci can get into the body and cause an infection. This infection can be minor (such as pimples, boils, and other skin conditions) or serious and sometimes fatal (such as blood infections or pneumonia). Staph. aureus is a common organism and can be found in the nostrils of up to 30% of persons. Person-to-person transmission is the usual form of spread and occurs through contact with secretions from infected skin lesions, nasal discharge or spread via the hands.

What is MRSA?

MRSA are staphylococci that are resistant to the antibiotic, methicillin, and other commonly used antibiotics such as penicillin and cephalosporins. These germs have a unique gene that causes them to be unaffected by all but the highest concentrations of these antibiotics. Therefore, alternate antibiotics must be used to treat persons infected with MRSA. Vancomycin has been the most effective and reliable drug in these cases, but is used intravenously and is not effective for treatment of MRSA when taken by mouth.

Photomicrograph of Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria, 675x Mag. A pus specimen, viewed using Pappenheim’s stain. Last century, infections by S. pyogenes claimed many lives especially since the organism was the most important cause of puerperal fever and scarlet fever. This media comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’sPublic Health Image Library (PHIL), with identification number #2110.

More information on MRSA from CDC:  Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

In 2005, MRSA killed 19,000 people in the United States—more than 1.5 times as many people than died of AIDS that year.

Related Links:

Posted in Group A Streptococcus, H. influenzae, immunocompromised, Staphylococcus aureus, Why Influenza Kills | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Listeria Suspected, Cheese Recalled

Posted by feww on January 22, 2010

The Wisconsin Cheeseman® Recalls Cheese Logs/Cheese Balls

FDA News Release Update:   01/21/2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Sun Prairie, WI. The Wisconsin Cheeseman® announced today that it is recalling cheese log/cheese ball products in conjunction with the voluntary recall initiated by Parkers Farm, Inc. on January 15, 2010. Parkers Farm, Inc., located in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, believes some of its food items have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. The recall was a result of a sampling done by the state of Wisconsin and the state of Minnesota.

Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Source:

Nine of the recalled products are cheese logs/cheese balls purchased from Parkers Farm, Inc. and then distributed by The Wisconsin Cheeseman®. These products bear the Parkers Farm logo. None of the other recalled products at Parkers Farm, Inc. was purchased or distributed by The Wisconsin Cheeseman®.

The Wisconsin Cheeseman® Food Gifts Impacted by Recall:
Sausage ‘N Cheese Logs – Gift #11
Cheese Logs & Cutting Board – Gift #87
Smorgasbord – Gift #325
Cheese Log Trio – Gift #365
Cheese Logs – Gift #411
Cheese Ball Trio – Gift #441
Cheese Logs – Gift #509
Snacker Pack – Gift #751
Cheese Balls & Sausages – Gift #876

Consumers who have these products in their possession should not consume them. Product should be returned to The Wisconsin Cheeseman® for a refund or replacement. Consumers who believe they may have become ill after consuming these products should contact their health care provider. The Wisconsin Cheeseman® has not received any complaints or reports of illness associated with these products.

Listeria monocytogenes bacteria is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria often experience fever, severe headaches, stiffness, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria can result in miscarriage or stillbirth among pregnant women.

Source: Bacterial Meningitis. Image may be subject to copyright.

Group B Streptococcus, Escherichia coli, and Listeria monocytogenes comprise the most common causes of meningitis in neonatals. About 17,500 cases of bacterial meningitis are reported in the U-S annually. (Source)


Company Contact:
Lindsey Decker
608-837-5166, ext.364
Customer Service Contact:

Photos: Product Labels

Related Links:

Posted in contaminated Cheese, food recall, Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, Parkers Farm Inc, Wisconsin Cheeseman | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Cyclones Attack Australia

Posted by feww on January 21, 2010

TC MAGDA  Approaches, another Cyclone  Forms


  • Time/Date: 21 January 2010 – 09:00UTC
  • Position: 14.5S 123.4E 
  • Sustained Movement: 170 degrees
  • Forward speed: 9km/hr (5 kt)

Current wind distribution:

  • Maximum Sustained winds: 110 km/hr (60 kt)
  • Maximum Gusts:  140 km/hr (75 kt)
  • Maximum Significant Wave Height 4.75m (14 ft)
  • Source: JTWC and Others


Tropical cyclone MAGDA (TC 08S) was located about 825km (445 NM) NE of HEADLAND, AUSTRALIA, Tracking south at near 9 km/hr (5 kt). The cyclone is
forecast to intensify aided by low vertical wind sheer and warm sea surfece temperatures in the next  36 hours.

Source: Image from Japan Meteorological Agency satellite MTSAT-1R via Bureau of Meteorology. Image may be subject to copyright. Click images to enlarge and update.

Source: Image from Japan Meteorological Agency satellite MTSAT-1R via Bureau of Meteorology. Image may be subject to copyright. [Inset tags refer to the probability of Cyclone formation.]

Posted in australia, Australia weather, storm, TC 08S, tropical cyclone | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »